On Tuesday night, we arrived back in Vancouver after an action-packed 10 day trip to the UK.
It had been close to five years since I’d been back so most of that time was spent catching up with family and it was great to see everyone again. Some people have changed a lot (one didn’t even exist last time I was there) and other people are just the same.
I also made a couple of trips to my favourite comic shop – Comic Connections – to catch up with some friends (and reacquaint myself with Strongbow), and spent a bit of time wandering around the town. A few things have changed (the baked potato guy outside McDonalds wasn’t there and a few of the shops are different) but otherwise, my home town has stayed pretty much how it was last time I was there.
We also ate some fantastic food. I can highly recommend The Three Pigeons. We had a Christmas lunch there and the food was delicious. The Three Pigeons was my “local” when I was younger, and my wife and I spent many an evening there when we first met so going back was a bit of a trip down memory lane.
I can also recommend my brother’s house for burgers and my sister’s for a full on Christmas meal with all “the fixins” but both those restaurants are pretty exclusive and it’s hard to get a reservation.
We did manage to fit in a couple of days in London. We were lucky enough to snag tickets to The Cure’s show at the Hammersmith Apollo.
The Cure are one of our favourite bands and they didn’t disappoint. The gig was a celebration of the 30th anniversary of the release of The Top, and they played the whole of that album plus most of their well known tracks. The Cure played for over 3 1/4 hours but I was still sorry to see them go when they finally left the stage for the last time. But, they did play two of my favourite tracks (Wrong Number and Hey You) though, so I left happy. The light show was excellent as well.
The next day, after a more delicious food at our hotel, we headed to The British Library to check out the Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination exhibition.
It was the second time we’ve been to The British Library. The first time we went to “take a look round” and ended up spending most of the day looking at a Henry VIII exhibition and the library’s permanent collection.
The Terror and Wonder exhibition covers 250 years of “the gothic tradition” – everything from the Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto (generally considered to be the first Gothic novel, published in 1764) to Twilight.
It’s a wonderful exhibition. We spent over three hours there looking at manuscripts and first editions, reading about the evolution of the genre, watching video clips and just generally marvelling at the items on display. Highlights for me were letters from Edgar Allen Poe and HP Lovecraft and original manuscript pages from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Clive Barker’s Hellbound novella and Hellraiser script. Wonderful stuff. If I lived in London it’s the sort of thing I’d visit a couple of times – well worth ten quid and it’s on until 20th January so there’s still time to catch it if you’re in the vicinity.
And of course, there was writing. I kept up my writing streak (now sitting at 550 days) and wrapped up most of the new chapters I wanted to add to Glitch Mitchell and the Unseen Planet. Now I need to smooth the joins between those chapters and the rest of the book and then it’s on to the final revisions. Glitch will be an indie release, probably in March. I also outlined a new short story. It doesn’t have a title yet but it’s sort of a romance…a horror romance. I’m excited about getting started on it in the next day or two. Hopefully it will live up to my expectations.
Thanks to the combined talents of Captain Insomnia and jetlag, I also got a lot of reading done – five books and most of a sixth in fact.
But did I enjoy them? Check back tomorrow to find out in the second part of my holiday wrap up.[What I did on my Holiday – Part One by Philip Harris first appeared on Solitary Mindset on 1st January 2015]